No, this post isn’t about those kind of happy endings so get your head back into the game.
A few months ago @PFDigest tweeted a link about hotel requests that were very funny.
Ridiculous / hilarious hotel requests… fulfilled! I encourage you all to check these out. http://t.co/X8HKIMFTNP
— PF Digest (@PFDigest) October 10, 2015
American Express Concierge
I’ve never asked any concierge service requests for ridiculous things , but I have used the American Express Platinum concierge to do many things for me. If you’re looking to test out a virtual assistant, I highly encourage you to try it out with a concierge service.
As an example I was tweeting to someone I met a couple of years back:
@shonuffharlem if it requires calling, concierge wins hands down. The other week, needed to know which Costco’s in my area sold liquor
— Chasing The Points (@ChasingThePts) May 26, 2016
Correctly, he did point out in a following tweet, that I should have used “wanted” instead of “needed.” But the same reasons are still the same, if I do not want to call any place of business, I will have American Express do it for me.
I requested American Express to contact several locations and to inquire about the liquors they sell. Now if you get someone really good you’ll receive a response where I put emphasis:
Thank you so much for contacting the American Express Concierge to have us contact the listed Costco to find out if they sell liquor. I will be happy to contact these Costco’s on your behalf. I was wondering if you had a particular liquor your interested in or are you just looking to find out if they sell Rum, Gin and Tequila. Are you interested in if they sell beer? I am in the process of contacting these locations on your behalf. However, I will need some additional time to complete your request. You can expect to receive an email no later than May 12, 2016 by 8:00 PM ET with an update.
Someone who wants to make sure you’re absolutely happy will ask extra questions if you’re not precise in the first email. I had just asked for liquor because this rep had a great follow up email. When we visited one Costco that was confirmed to have liquor it had, it did not have Johnny Walker Blue compared to a Costco that I normally go. Therefore, if there’s something specific that you’re looking for and to avoid the back and forth, it is best ask in the first email.
Here was his response after I had told him we wanted to browse the liquor selection:
I would like to thank you for emailing me back here at American Express Concierge. I am pleased to inform you that I have located 2 out of the 5 Costco locations you provided me sell both beer and hard liquor in their store. Costco requires that you have a membership to visit the store or you can visit with someone who has a membership. I love Costco and I have a membership myself, it’s great place for stocking up on everyday items and great savings on large priced purchases. Below I have included the locations that sell beer and hard liquor.
3 North Plainfield (12.06 miles)
1290 US Highway 22E
North Plainfield, NJ 07060
Notes: They sell Beer and Liquor
5 Wayne (15.08 miles)
149 State Route 23
Wayne, NJ 07470-6933
Notes: They sell Beer and Liquor
Thank you for your loyalty with American Express since 2008. As an American Express Platinum card holder, one of your card benefits is the Purchase Protection, your eligible purchases can be covered when they’re accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost for up to 90 days from the date of purchase with your Card. Have a great day and enjoy Costco!
If you really like the rep, you can specifically ask for them in the concierge request. Be sure to send your kudos back to them and they will log your positive feedback with their supervisor. While it would be awesome if you could send them gifts, they prefer an email of your gratitude and kind words to their supervisor so it can be logged into the system.
In the reselling arena, I had a lead for some products. I emailed Platinumrequests@concierge.americanexpress.com the product in the exact specifications and a series of stores. Unfortunately, nothing panned out, but it saved me the time and effort to research.
As Vinh pointed out, I also ask American Express to give me travel itineraries. Generally, I use them, for ideas to start off and then when I build out the things I want to do, I will ask them more specific points of interests. I do this because they are freely available.
If you are not specific with what you are looking for you should ask them “Travel 42 Professional Report” and they will give you a 30 to 40 page document of very general things.
One thing to keep in mind with American Express is how you frame any travel requests. As soon as you say reservations for a hotel or airfare, they will deny all your requests and tell you to call them and speak with one of the American Express travel agents. This part is super frustrating.
There’s little advertised benefits for Citi’s concierge services, but their services are equally available as American Express. I don’t have much information for you now as I am still experimenting with their services, but I can tell you that their services are not as “on point” as American Express. I asked Citi’s concierge for a travel itinerary like how I normally do with American Express, but their response was not adequate. They are not on top of the game in terms of communication either. American Express promises you a response within 48 hours or less. If they don’t meet that deadline, they will actually email you and let you know specifically the challenges to why they can’t complete a request.
Here’s a request I made with American Express. Long story short, I was preparing for a date with someone who traveled to Hawaii not too long ago and I wasn’t sure if she had tried Bubbie’s when she was there and I knew Wholefoods sells it. I was thinking maybe we could pick up mochi’s as dessert.
American Express Is Still The Best For Communication
I sent this to American Express after the Wholefoods closed:
Hi,I was wondering if you can call this Wholefoods (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/morristown) and let me know what flavors of Bubbie’s Ice cream they stockThanks
We have received your email and have begun work fulfilling your request. At this time, the whole foods in Morristown, NJ is closed. We will be calling them in the morning and will have the product list for Bubbie’s Ice cream emailed to you no later than 1:00 PM ET on June 11, 2016. Thank you for choosing American Express Platinum Concierge for assistance finding this information. We are happy to look into it for you. If you have any questions please feel free to reply to this email, or contact us by phone.
It was a pleasure assisting you with your request in regards to Bubbie’s Ice Cream.
I have been in contact with Whole Foods Market in Morristown, NJ and spoke with Ashton.
He did explain to me that they are a smaller Whole Foods store so they are very limited in the types of Bubbie’s Ice Cream that they carry.
At this time they have in stock chocolate espresso, pistachio, chocolate vanilla, lychee and vanilla.
We hope this information was helpful. As always, if you have any questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
They’re on point, aren’t they? This always leaves me with a great feeling knowing that they’ve come through as they say they will within the service level agreement.
Now back to Citibank’s concierge. My request to Citibank was for a travel itinerary to Montreal. I used the same language as I did for American Express. Here was Citi’s response:
Thank you for emailing us today. We are currently researching options for you. We will have information to you with in 48 hours.
We look forward to helping with your request for a travel guide .
4 days went by and I had not heard from them, so I sent them a follow up email and I had not received a response. 3 days after I asked for a follow up I received a less than adequate answer. I had asked them about the underground tunnels in Montreal
I would like to first thank you for your patience while I researched some options for you to see the underground tunnels of Montreal. I was delighted to be able to find you these wonderful choices that are listed below. If any of these options pique your interest please do not hesitate to contact me by replying to this email or calling me.
Number of Travelers:1
Special Requests/Notes: Underground Tunnels
Name of Attraction Underground Walking Tour
Address:1255 rue Peel
This 1.5 hour tour will be a great orientation of the downtown core. This tour is known as the Tale of Two Cities where you will be able to explore 2,000 shops and restaurants, major hotels, musuems, theateres and universiteis. You will be lead by a professional tourist guied that will take you on an adventure through the vibrant downtown core and then you will descend below the surface inot a city all it’s own.
$20.42 Per person
Name of Attraction Montreal’s Underground City Hike
Address:Lobby of Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth Hotel
The expert guide will lead you on a hike through Montreal’s Reso system of indoor spaces and underground tunnels that will lead to metro stations, office buildings, soping centers and the art centres of Downtown Old Montreal. This tour will also give you all the good places to shop and dine. The tour is typically starts at 9 am and ends at 12 pm i the lobby of Farimont the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. You will also receive a metro ticket, cafe and crossiant.
75.00 CAD Per person.
Please keep in mind all ticket sales are final. Tickets cannot be refunded or changed once they are purchased.
Once you have made your selection, please call 561-922-0158 to secure your tickets. Please have your card details accessible when you call. For security purposes, please do not send any credit card information via email.
If I haven’t heard back from you by June 16, I will follow-up with you to ensure all plans are in place for your trip to Montreal. When I contact you, I would be happy to coordinate any additional arrangements you may need.
I am personally available from 4am to 6am est this morning and from 9 PM to 6 AM est Saturday through Wednesday. Outside of these hours, any of my colleagues will be more than happy to assist you.
Have a wonderful day!
In the above response, I bolded a section that I thought was a nice added touch. This particular rep was available for me to personally work with them at those hours.
I am still playing around with the concierge services with random requests. For the experiments I will keep them consistent and see what kind of results each of them bring up in terms of speed, accuracy, and quality. In my limited testing, American Express is winning.